Tuesday, February 21, 2017

GO Train Schedules Displayed for Highway Commuters? So... how's that going?

When I received this submission for publication, I reached out to the Ministry of Transportation for Ontario for comment. So far, a week later, crickets.  For all I know, my email was filed under "G", for garbage.

Another burgeoning boondoggle for Burlington?

Special to This Crazy Train
By Iona Pintó

For a few moments, let’s set aside the engineering embarrassment that is Burlington GO station (and its parking garage).and look at Metrolinx’s latest experiment for that city.

I’m sure you recall the provincial government’s announcement on October 14, 2016 of “a year-long pilot that will use electronic highway signs to show drivers nearby transit information and promote alternative travel options, to help manage congestion and get people where they're going sooner”.

Burlington’s MPP, Eleanor McMahon, positively gushed with excitement in Inside Halton’s news article when she gave the following example of the signs’ benefits:

“So, I’m sitting on the QEW westbound in lane two, I just hear on my radio… there’s a collision on Mississauga Road on the QEW and you suddenly realize that you’re now not going to make your 9 a.m. meeting,”

“You look up and the sign says GO train 12 minutes…. I’m going to do that. Why? Because I can sit on the GO train and make a phone call hands-free to my staff saying I’m not going to make that meeting, please tell the folks I can join them by phone… and have my material infront [sic] of me.”

“.... There I am, I haven’t missed the meeting, I haven’t wasted anyone’s time and I can actively participate because I can sit on the train and I’m leveraging my personal technology to participate,”

What?!  There are some things I just don’t understand about what Eleanor said, like the following:
  1. Is it safe to assume Eleanor is making her way from her constituency into Toronto?  If so, why is Eleanor heading westbound?
  2. If Eleanor is in lane two, she better hope there isn’t an eighteen wheeler or other large commercial vehicle to her right, because she won’t see that sign.
  3. In order to make that GO train in “12 minutes”, does Eleanor believe there is a reserved parking spot for her close to the platform?  Has Eleanor paid for a reserved parking spot at a GO station?  If she hasn’t, she’ll be hiking in from the “back forty” of the parking lot.
  4. Does Eleanor think she’ll get a seat on the train?  If she does, what if it’s in the Quiet Zone?

Neither the Ontario government, nor Inside Halton bothered to provide locations for the signs.  The best they could do is state “near Appleby GO station”.  WTF does that mean?

The QEW interchange before Appleby Line (Toronto bound) is Walkers Line.  The star on the map identifies the vicinity of a sign matching the description given in the news article.

A recent drive by captured the following information displayed on the sign:

Play the video as many times as you want; there’s NOTHING displayed on that sign.  Is this the correct sign?  Perhaps readers of This Crazy Train can provide the exact location of any working sign along the QEW with GO train information.

Given that we’re four months into a one year pilot project, I’d like to know where these signs are, so I can provide meaningful feedback to Eleanor and Metrolinx (as I’m sure we’d all like to).


Unknown said...

If that is the sign, I am thinking it is in the wrong spot. Shouldn't it be before the turn off?

Iona Pintó said...

The sign in the video is at the Walkers Line interchange. If it is the sign for train information, that location would allow sufficient time to make a GO/noGO decision and maneuver safely to exit the QEW at the next interchange, which is Appleby Line.